Surfboard in the sky.

Welcome

Thank you for taking a moment to explore my website, which highlights my academic research, teaching experience, personal projects, and previous professional writing endeavors. My research explores the environmental and coastal politics of the built environment, specifically relating to the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ evolving proposal to construct an eight-lane, sixteen-mile toll road through the City of San Clemente in Southern California. My dissertation is an ethnography of “Save Trestles,” a campaign that has been central to the preservation of San Onofre State Beach and its world-famous surf breaks. Save Trestles demonstrates sophisticated social change networking and advocacy that considers the coupling of human-natural systems. The gallery showcases photographs that I took from 2016 to 2017 of three surf breaks that comprise Trestles. They include Cottons, Lowers and Middles. My manuscript interrogates the concept of “saving” surf breaks from sea level rise. I analyze Trestles as a contemporary case study embedded in the exploitation of a “recreational ecosystem service,” as well as the politics of indigeneity, colonization, and white supremacy. My research calls into question the success of Save Trestles in relation to the destructive and visible effects of sea-level rise, El Niño, the historical theft of indigenous land, and the consumptive surf industry.

Two men with surfboards walk along the beach near Cottons, a surf break located within San Onofre State Beach in Orange County, California.
Documenting sea-level rise on Thursday, July 14, 2016.

Central to my research is an interdisciplinary methodology to explain how the political ecology of public beach spaces reveals an elaborate web of relationships between (non)humans and their lived environments. My methodology is rooted in the ocean literacy that I acquired as a surfer, as well as data-gathering techniques that I learned as a community scientist for Wildcoast/Costasalvaje’s “Marine Protected Area Watch” Program and USC Sea Grant’s “Urban Tides Community Science Initiative.”

I hold a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Previous research analyzes the economic and cultural effects of the global surf industry in postwar El Salvador. My master’s thesis is available upon request.